10 Easy Strategies to Secure a Successful Yard Sale


Yard sale season has officially arrived! Many people throughout the United States are preparing for the occasion by setting aside items they no longer use or want. Personally, I have been boxing up my stuff since the completion of the last yard sale in September. How can you ensure that the money you earn is worth the effort? Well, today, I will share with you my 10 easy strategies to secure a successful yard sale, which in turn provides you with the greatest profit.

1. Yard Sale Prep

The best thing you can do for a successful yard sale is to plan well in advance. The sale requires preparation and tons of organization.

  • Gather items. What do you want to sell? As you complete the seasonal purge of your belongings, set aside anything you feel is sellable. Then, rummage through your attic, basement, garage, and shed and select anything that you no longer use. This is a great opportunity to eliminate clutter. Reserve an area in your home or garage to store the things you collect.

  • Discuss your yard sale with friends, family, and neighbors. Multi-family yard sales drive more traffic and increase profits. Die-hard yardsalers expect options. I found that out the hard way once. Those customers like a large inventory and love it when they can walk from house to house to shop.

  • Decide on a location. Usually, a house that has more street traffic yields better results.

  • Before you even begin, plan on what you want to do with your belongings that do not sell. After day two, we load up the vehicles with remaining goods and drop them off at our local Goodwill.

2. Choose A Date And Time

Now that you and your friends have things to sell and have decided on a location, it’s time to select a date and time.

  • Does your town have a community-wide yard sale? If so, this is a wonderful opportunity for you! Our community yard sale is held annually in May or June. The organizers advertise in local newspapers, which saves the cost and hassle of doing it on your own. Buyers scour neighborhoods to find sales.

  • Friday and Saturday are the most successful days of the week.

  • If possible, select a rain date. No one will want to come out during torrential downpours to shop, nor do you want to sit in the yard getting soaked. Canopies only do so much to protect you (and your stuff).

3. Advertise In The Newspaper

  • It is well worth the investment to put a simple ad in the paper a week before your sale. Yardsalers use this as a planning tool. Last year, we advertised a “neighborhood yard sale” and it was about $25 and ran for 3-4 days. Of course, that depends on where you live, but when everyone involved in the sale splits the cost, it is a nominal amount. Make sure you list your rain date in the ad. Tip: If you mention a “neighborhood” or “multi-family” yard sale, that means more than two or three people are involved. Also, even if you specify “No Earlybirds” in your ad, they will still come. Guaranteed. Be prepared.

  • Create or purchase signs (or a yard sale kit). Signage is a great directional tool! Bright colors, large letters, and bold arrows are extremely helpful when directing buyers to your home. Make sure the signs are easily readable to drivers.

  • Use social media. Investigate different local pages to advertise the yard sale, and post it on your own page. Encourage your friends to help you by sharing the post.

4. Clean Everything

For a successful sale, your merchandise should be spic-and-span!

  • Clothing. Clean, press, and hang clothes for the yard sale. Tattered or well-worn garments should be recycled or discarded.

  • Window treatments should also be laundered and ironed.

  • Jewelry. Use a jewelry cleaning cloth to remove dirt.

  • Remove dust and dirt from your stock.

  • Make things shine as much as possible.

5. Pricing

Now that every little thing is sparkling, it’s time to decide on pricing. How much an item is worth depends on the condition. Obviously, you will seek a higher price for new or like new items.

  • Do not give away the farm. Yard Sales are so much work and you don’t want to give everything away.

  • People love a deal. Leave room for negotiating.

  • Don’t overprice. The reality is that while we all believe our belongings are worth a lot of money, others don’t see it that way. Take the emotion out of your pricing. After all, you want to sell everything, not haul it back inside after the yard sale. Find the balance between charging too little and charging too much.

  • Research online. Think you have something valuable? Take the time to look it up online and see what it is worth.

  • Condition. If you have clothes that still have tags on them or anything else that is brand new, a higher price tag is warranted. You still want to make sure the item is deeply discounted from the retail price.

  • Search the internet for pricing guides.Multiple sellers. Color-coded price stickers (included in the yard sale kit) are helpful when having a multi-family sale.

  • Don’t be afraid to discount things on the second day. I usually wait until 10AM to reevaluate my prices.

6. Sort And Organize

Sort and categorize your items. Remember to check pockets of clothing and purses for forgotten cash!

  • Place all the toys and games together.

  • Kitchen gadgets, dishes, utensils, etc. should be in the same area.

  • Books can be easily sorted by hardback or paperback. One sign displaying a price (for example, $1/hard cover or $ .50/paperback) can be placed on a table with books making it easier for you and the customer. I make signs out of bright neon index cards.

  • Accessories. Purses, jewelry, scarves, and wallets should be grouped together.

  • Tip: If you save manuals for small appliances, placing them with the appliance helps to make the sale.

7. Presentation

After you have sorted your belongings, how will you present them in a way that is easy for the buyer to see? I like tables. For one thing, older people can’t get down on the ground to look at things. Another reason is that yard sales begin early in the morning and typically there is dew on the grass. You don’t want your valuables to get wet!

If you are unable to borrow tables from a friend or relative, you can rent them. Maybe your church would lend some tables for a small donation. Be creative and check around.

Tables make it very simple for the buyer to look at everything you have to offer. Of course, large items need to be on the ground. Just make sure they are easily accessible to the customer and that the price is clearly marked.

Have electricity available for customers to test items. They will ask.

  • Tip: Mow the lawn.

8. Cash And Coin

  • Be prepared to make change. I usually get $50 in fives and ones in addition to quarters, dimes, and nickels. I even throw some pennies in.

  • Invest in a cash box with a lock. Keep a pen, sharpie, and extra stickers handy inside for any price changes.

  • Consider one cashier in a multi-family sale. It makes things a lot easier for you and the customer. With a color-coded system and a notebook, tracking money is simple.

9. Prepare For The Weather

  • Canopies can be a lifesaver during your yard sale to beat the heat from the sun and to protect you from any pop-up rain showers. Tip: Use the bars on the canopy to hang clothing.

  • Tarps or plastic sheeting will protect your belongings from unexpected rain.

  • Wear sunscreen.

  • Be sure to have a cooler full of cold water. Stay hydrated!

10. Remember Your Manners

  • Be honest. If something you are selling doesn’t work properly or is missing a piece, tell the person that is interested in purchasing it. Also, you don’t want to sell a faulty kitchen appliance that may be a fire hazard! Something else to keep in mind - these people know where you live. Last year I was selling an electric ice cream maker. The buyer argued with me that it didn’t work (maybe he was trying to be funny, I don’t know). I plugged it in and turned it on to prove it was in good working order. He bought it. Honesty is always the best policy.

  • Be polite. Yes, you will encounter rude and demanding people. Kill them with kindness, as my Gram says. It works 99% of the time.

  • Say thank you. It is always nice to thank people for stopping by whether they make a purchase or not. They will likely return to your next sale if you do.

  • Be gracious. No matter how tired you are, remember to do this sincerely. It is uplifting to your customers and energizing to you.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing you can do to have a successful yard sale is to have fun! Be flexible, and adaptable. Roll with the punches. Get up early, make some strong coffee, and get to work. Be sure to have food available! All the hard work will make you hungry. Lastly, have a chair to sit down in during slow times. Most of all, enjoy the experience!